Brian Cardall

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Autopsy links Taser to Cardall's death
Coroner cites being stunned near the heart as a key factor
By Melinda Rogers
The Salt Lake Tribune


A Taser that twice shocked Brian Cardall contributed to or caused heart irregularities in the 32-year-old man that led to his death on the side of a southern Utah highway in June, the Utah Medical Examiner's Office has ruled.

Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Erik Christensen cited "ventricular fibrillation following conducted energy weapon deployment during a manic episode with psychotic features" as Cardall's cause of death.

The Salt Lake Tribune obtained a copy of the autopsy report Thursday from the Cardalls' attorney. The family chose to release it after Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap said he will not prosecute the officer who deployed a Taser on Cardall.

Belnap said Hurricane police Officer Ken Thompson legally used a Taser on Cardall as the man suffered a bipolar manic episode June 9.
The Cardall family disagrees with Belnap's decision, said Karra Porter, who is advising the Cardalls on their legal options.

Christensen's report states that prongs from a Taser a Hurricane police officer deployed struck Cardall over his heart. While Christensen acknowledged other factors could have contributed to Cardall's death, he pointed out factors that indicate a Taser electrocuted a naked, unarmed Cardall.

"While it is generally acknowledged that [Taser] use is safe and represents an extremely low risk due to the electrical activity of the weapon, the circumstances in this case represent a combination of the factors that are believed to increase the risk of a potential electrical death," Christensen's report reads.

"These include the placement of the barbs over the cardiac axis, the penetration of the barbs deeply into a thin chest wall directly over the heart, absence of intervening clothing and more than one cycle of electrical stimulation.

"Additionally, the initial cardiac rhythm of ventricular fibrillation is consistent with findings seen in cases of electrocution."
Christensen's conclusion that the X-26 Taser, made by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser International, played a significant role in Cardall's death is bold.



Daughter born to widow in Taser death caseFamily still waits for answers in Brian Cardall's death

Brian's widow Anna Schmidt Cardall welcomed their second daughter Bella Aspen September 16th, 2009 5:36pm. She was born 7lbs 2 oz, 18.4 inches. Her sister Ava Skye is almost 3 years old.

By Melinda Rogers
The Salt Lake Tribune

September 26, 2009

Bella Aspen Cardall opened her big eyes to the world for the first time last week and her family immediately commented on the newborn's resemblance to her father.

"She has the same chin. You look at her and you can certainly see Brian," said Doug Burgoyne, brother-in-law of Brian Cardall, who died June 9 after a Hurricane police officer shocked him twice with a Taser as he suffered a bipolar episode on the side of a southern Utah highway.
"To have Bella here is a nice way to always remember Brian. We're thrilled she's here and healthy and vibrant."

Born Sept. 16 in Salt Lake City, Bella weighed in at 7 pounds 2 ounces. A photo of her father sat on a table in the delivery room -- a difficult reminder for family of the momentous occasion he should have been able to witness and the answers the family is still waiting for.




Family remembers Cardall's accomplishments
By Wendy Leonard
Deseret News
Published: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 2:57 p.m. MDT

Family members compared the lot of fatally stunned Brian Cardall to that of various martyrs during his funeral this week.

"I can't help but think of facts surrounding Brian's death when I read the account of our Savior's crucifixion in the book of Luke," Brian Cardall's father, Duane Cardall, said during funeral services at an LDS Church building in the East Millcreek area. "He hung on the cross virtually naked … treated ill by officers of the law. His words resound in my ear: 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.' "

Cardall tearfully continued that he hopes and prays, and has counseled his children and grandchildren "to follow the example of Jesus Christ and hold no animosity nor vindictiveness" toward the circumstances — individually or collectively — surrounding the untimely death.

Brian Cardall died last Tuesday after a Hurricane police officer hit him twice with a Taser. Cardall, who family members say was bipolar, was running naked on a remote highway at the time and failed to lie on the ground when the officer told him to do so.

Other family members recalled the good times shared with their brother Brian, including many hours spent outdoors, also listening to his self-composed music, admiring his paintings and reading his well-written research.




Siblings remember brother as ‘loving man'
June 10, 2009

Video Courtesy of


SALT LAKE CITY -- Brian Cardall's brothers and sisters are remembering his accomplishments in his short life. They spoke with KSL 5 News about their brother, who they call a brilliant, creative, loving man.

Brian, who died after being tased by Hurricane police Tuesday afternoon, comes from a large and loving family. Six of his seven siblings talked about their "wonderful, accomplished brother."

They all say he was calm, kind and creative -- an artist who captured nature in landscapes and a self-taught musician and songwriter.
Craig Cardall, Brian's brother, said he loved the outdoors, "to get away from it all, to be there with God and at peace."

But Brian was also a scientist, earning a master's degree at Utah State and close to completing his doctorate at Northern Arizona University.

Brian married the love of his life, Anna, who shared his passion for nature. He taught that love to their 2-year-old, Ava.

"Anna was even telling me the other day that she just loved watching Brian with Ava. He'd be out doing stuff, and Ava would be out capturing bugs. She was just a daddy's little girl," said Jane Cardall, Brian's sister.

They call their brother's death heartbreaking, but they are so pleased they each have spent time with him recently.

"We're grateful that we've had this year to really express that love, and he knew we loved him and we knew he loved us. And so, there's that peaceand comfort," said Brian's sister Rebecca Smith.

"Brian will be with me for the rest of my life," Brian's brother Paul Cardall said. "As I fight to live, and a donor family gives an organ to me, I will know what they're going through."

They have faith they will see him again and say whatever Brian did, he did with love.

Reported by Carole Mikita